February 11, 2009
My work will be taking me to New York over the next few months, as a project we sent out a proposal for in August was finally approved last week.
In the budget, we had set aside $2000 for travel between Los Angeles and New York, but thanks to the economy and competition along the route, we will be able to pay for three or four trips.
Right now, round trip airfare between LAX or SFO and JFK can be had for as little as $235, if you pick the right days and right flights.
That comes to a Cost-Per-Elite-Qualifying-Mile of less than 5 cents, which these days is quite a deal for domestic travel. Add a stop in San Francisco for $10 each way, and earn an extra 337 (or 500) miles, depending on your status!
With open seats up front, that means a good chance of flying United’s P.S. business class for ten hours for less than $300 and an upgrade instrument or two. Not a bad deal if you ask me!
January 13, 2009
The United Flyertalk Boards have been buzzing for months over the perceived difficulty of upgrading flights recently. At issue is the fact that United has fewer Business and First class seats on their newly-configured 767 and 747 planes, and don’t really know which planes will fly which routes until just before departure, so they are holding back on upgrading people until the last minute.
This can be frustrating for folks, especially in cases like mine, where the whole purpose of flying is to use my Systemwide Upgrades before they expire at the end of the month.
Last night, my upgrade to Business Class cleared on the return portion of the flight–from Frankfurt to San Francisco. That’s great news, but I am still in economy for the outbound SFO-FRA come Thursday. Currently, they’re still selling 9 business class seats and there are fourteen empty spots on the seat maps, so it will be a close call for me… Wish me luck!
January 6, 2009
Each of the last three years I have found myself in January with two systemwide upgrades which are about to expire at the end of January. In the past, my friend David and I used this as an excuse to go to London.
Because of the calendar and other obligations, I am on my own for the “SWU Run” in 2009–but that gave me some flexibility as well.
Rather than take the 5500-mile non-stop from LAX to London Heathrow, I decided to try some creative routing.
Instead, I am flying Burbank to London City Airport–with stops in San Francisco and Frankfurt along the way.
For about $100 extra (mostly in taxes) and a six-hour layover in Frankfurt, I will earn an additional 2600 elite qualifying miles, 4200 redeemable miles and have the possibility of checking out United Airlines’ reconfigured 747 in Business class (maybe).
Even better, with the weak Gordon Brown Peso (GBP), London is less than half the cost of what it was last sumer!